Hemp oil can be extracted from various parts of the hemp plant and has culinary, beauty, medicinal and industrial applications.
Cannabis sativa (hemp) seeds are used worldwide due to their high nutrient content and strict regulations are in place to limit the amount of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In Canada, this limit is 10 ppm per gram of hemp seeds and other countries such as South Africa follow similar guidelines for the level of THC in hemp. The USA allows 0.3 per cent of THC in hemp products.
Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds and may contain trace amounts of the phytocannabinoids such as CBD. Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed to yield edible green oil with a taste similar to that of walnuts or sunflower seeds.
The oil is rich in beneficial poly-unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3 as well as vitamin E. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in hemp seed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1 which is optimal for human health.
CBD hemp extract oil is made from the flowers, stalks and leaves of the hemp plant. These vegetative parts contain beneficial phytocannabinoids of which CBD is the most significant. CBD is the best known non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, yet only one of the many cannabinoids present in hemp.
The main purpose of using CBD hemp oil is to restore the chemical balance in the body by stimulating the human endocannabinoid system. The benefits of CBD oil is not only due to CBD but is further enhanced by the coactive effect of other cannabinoids present in the oil as terpenes and other phytochemicals. This combined effect, stronger than the effect of just CBD alone, is known as the ‘entourage effect’.
Hemp seed oil is too delicate to use with heat as it will destroy the beneficial fatty acids but is ideal in mayonnaise, pesto or as a dressing oil. Hemp oil is best stored cool, and once opened, must be used within three months.
Used in skincare products, hemp seed oil contains antioxidants and is a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps treat acne, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. It is suitable for sensitive skin. Studies in Finland showed improvements in eczema and in the strength of hair and nails of patients who used hemp seed oil daily.
A second, heated pressing of the hemp seeds will yield a brown-coloured oil. This oil is used in varnishes, as a drying oil in paints, and as lamp oil. Plastic flooring such as linoleum and non-toxic diesel fuel are made from hemp seed oil.
CBD hemp extract oil (derived from the leaves, flowers and stalks) can be used for a variety of conditions, including skincare and to treat a range of medical conditions.
The strongest scientific evidence for the medical use of CBD in hemp oil is for treating epilepsy in children. CBD also addresses anxiety and insomnia as well as chronic pain associated with inflammation.
CBD oil is incorporated into products such as gum sweets, lollipops, pet treats and drops, vaping oil, tinctures and oral sprays. It can be rubbed onto the skin or taken internally.
Research by the University of Nottingham concluded that certain foods high in fatty acids can increase the bio-availability of CBD in hemp oil. Coconut, olive, soybean and sesame oil, as well as fish, meat, avocados and eggs, will allow the human body to absorb more CBD.
By Marinda Louw